Hi Emily,

I am 21 years old and have been dating my boyfriend for almost 5 years. We have never broken up before but we have come close (because I have threatened). I do not know what to do. I love him more than anything but he treats me like his mother and I can't stand it (this is the best way to describe the situation). He is an only child and has been babied his whole life. He never wants to talk to me if I'm upset and he makes no effort to fix things. I literally have to convince him to do things with me, for example last weekend I paid for us to go on a *very* expensive date, just so we could spend time together. He will not do anything unless there is some perk in it for him. I know he loves me and I know he doesn't cheat on me, in fact he talks about the future sometimes- comments pertaining to when we're 70. I just don't know if I can handle it. I know he isn't going to change because we've had this conversation a million times and sometimes!  He'll be better for a month or two, but nothing drastic. I'm tired of always being the one to make the effort and when we do fight, I hate crying myself to sleep because he doesn't feel the need to fix it... like he used to when we first started dating. What should I do?

-----------------------------Miss Emily's advice-------------------------

You and he have been together for a long time, and at such an early age -- although I must confess, this kind of situation can happen at any age. First of all, you should never be treated like you are an extension of his mother -- whether he adores her, or has issues with her. You are a separate individual, and should be treated as such. A guy who has been babied all his life is used to being overly-parented and, in relationships, often show a tendency to follow rather than lead. He may also have gotten lazy in this relationship. Unless you are satisfied with being the creator of plans, and happy to take the reins if you do stay together (and some women don't mind), I would consider a break from him to assess what it is you really want for your future. I'm sure you and he are great friends, in many respects (and you could probably complete his sentences, and vice versa), but that doesn't always translate into a successful forever. You now have a good idea of what he would be like as a marriage partner. Whether that's all he can give in any relationship, who really knows at this point in his life, but that's all he wants or can give in this relationship, and you have told me that's not good enough for you. He has issues with communication, seems to prescribe to avoidance, and unless he's willing to do the hard work to get it right with you, I think you need to face it, and act accordingly.